The founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, and yet it is obvious that no two human beings are identical in any respect. We come from different places, look different, act different, have varying degrees of strength (super-human, in my case), intelligence (yes, I am omniscient, too), and other abilities. So how, exactly, are we all equal?
According to Dr. W. Cleon Skousen, we are treated as equals in 3 ways: in the sight of God, in the sight of the law, and in the protection of our rights. Constitutional writer Clarence Carson described it this way:
But it seems that we've lost the original meaning of the term "equality." No longer is it about equal opportunity, but it is about equal things. As an example, I was reminded of a billboard that I saw a while ago here in Memphis that proudly proclaimed that if you couldn't afford to pay for a cell phone, the government would help you get one. Really? Is the right to a cell phone one of those unalienable rights that I slept through in my civics classes? If you can't afford a cell phone, guess what? TOUGH! If it is that important to you, go out and get a second job, or cut some of those trips to Mickey D's out (although we ARE very proud of our official status here in MS as the most obese state in the country). The argument here is that you need a cell phone in case of emergencies. Really? Where were the cell phones for the first 18+ years of my life? I seemed to manage just fine! We've become so accustomed to certain luxuries and amenities that we view them as "essential" to our survival. Of course, we are certainly not the first generation to confuse this definition, and we will undoubtedly not be the last. John Adams was in France when Jean Jacques Rousseau was teaching that all men were designed to be equal in every way. In response, Adams wrote:
First, there is equality before the law. This means that every man's case is tried by the same law governing any particular case. Practically, it means that there are no different laws for different classes and orders of men. The definition of premeditated murder is the same for the millionaire as for the tramp. A corollary of this is that no classes are created or recognized by law.
Second, the Declaration refers to an equality of rights...Each man is equally entitled to his life with every other man; each man has an equal title to God-given liberties along with every other.
It should be obvious, then, to anyone who can objectively analyze a subject, that we are, in fact, created equal by God, and that we all have equal opportunities to succeed in this country based on our own merits. This also means that we are all subject to the same consequences as a result of our actions. Granted, the implication of this law (equality) has not always been executed justly. But an unjust application of the law does not make the law itself unjust. It just means we need to support those will more appropriately carry out the law as it is established.
That all men are born to equal rights is true. Every being has a right to his own, as clear, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has...But to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life, is as gross a fraud, as glaring an imposition on the credulity of the people, as ever was practiced...